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Budget Plan Would Cut Children’s Health Funding by 70% in Two Weeks
Ed Walz (Former Staff)Health
Washington — A stopgap budget measure gaining rapid support among majority members of the U.S. House of Representatives would cut funding for the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by 70 percent on October 1, 2013, according to the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children. The joint resolution (H.J.Res. 62), authored by Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA) Thursday already has more than 40 cosponsors.
CHIP funding was extended through September, 2015, by Congress in 2009, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) national health care law. H.J.Res. 62 rescinds “any funds” made available through the ACA for federal fiscal year 2014, which begins on October 1, 2013. According to a First Focus Campaign for Children analysis of the resolution, its net result would be a $13.3 billion October 1st drop in CHIP funding from $19 billion to $5.7 billion.
“CHIP has been bipartisan from the start, and a lot of the representatives who’ve cosponsored this resolution have been solid CHIP supporters. I’ve got to believe this is the mother of all unintended consequences,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.
CHIP was enacted in 1997, by a Republican-controlled Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton. It provides quality, affordable health insurance coverage through private insurance companies to an estimated nine million children nationwide. In partnership with Medicaid, CHIP has protected children from losing health care in the wake of a recession that cost millions of parents their employer-sponsored health insurance.
“Unintended or not, the consequences here would be devastating for children and state governments. Before lawmakers cast a vote for this proposal, they should make sure they understand what they’re voting for,” said Lesley.